It’s no surprise that July is a special month for the Sweet July brand. It was only right that Sweet July Skin—Ayesha’s passion project born out of her own skin challenges and beauty needs—launch this month, after years of working to get it just right. Think: The perfect recipe, only this time, it’s for your face. Below, she shares her journey to launching the skincare line.
This really is like this baby of a project that we’re so excited to birth into the world. We’ve been working on the line for well over three years now. It’s actually one of the first products that we started to develop when we launched Sweet July. It all started based off the fact that I realized there was white space in the market—I wasn’t seeing Caribbean-based skincare mainstream. There are all these incredible superfoods that have been used for generations in Jamaica, and they needed to be seen and used and loved on. The team loved the idea, but there was hesitation: “Are you sure you want to do this?” The skin market is seemingly oversaturated, but I told them, “Nobody’s doing this.”
We started working with a clean lab, formulating each product from scratch. I spent so many nights, until sometimes 3 or 4 in the morning on my computer, learning about superfoods, going beyond what was passed down from my grandma and my mom, and researching natural foods and herbs that were indigenous to Jamaica. I realized that these ingredients were power-packed with nutrients for the skin. Truly what you put in your body can be put on your body. And, some of these ingredients native to Jamaica are more vitamin C-rich than a traditional orange or some of the more common “vitamin C-rich” foods that we know and love. I knew we had something really special.
Part of the thing that makes it so special is that the experience is super sensory. I think my hospitality background really helps with that. We have a three-step process right now for the skincare line, and it’s like a three-course meal. The goal is to take people on a journey. You wash your face and you feel that cool-breeze feeling, like the perfect temperature on your favorite Island. Then you go into hydrating with the toner and it has this delicate floral smell that makes you feel like you’re in the tropics, and then you finish it off with this herbaceous oil to nourish your skin and leave it with a nice glow courtesy of the turmeric. We want people to love their skincare routine. Thinking of it as a journey makes it more fun.
What was also so special about this project is that my mother and grandmother and other family members were so willing and ready to be our internal testers, our guinea pigs. Years ago, we would get lab samples and I would say, “I don’t think it’s ready yet,” and they’d be like, “But I want to try it.” So, we got feedback in real time. I’ve been grateful for their support. I’ll get a text here and there from my grandma saying, “Oh, what about this? What about this fruit? What about this vegetable that we used back in the day?” They’re so invested in this with me. There are some products we’ll be launching down the road that my mom and my Auntie Donna, in particular, are just obsessed with.
I don’t have a favorite from the line, but one of our products I am just loving right now is our cleanser. I love to have a minty fresh feeling on my face after I wash my skin, and I think our cleanser does a great job of leaving the skin feeling like you have a cool breeze blowing on it after you wash your face. I love that we were able to do something different and use this super-fine lychee seed powder. It really is as clean as it can possibly be. Within the family and friends circle, it’s house divided. I would say half of the team’s favorite is the toner—a holy-grail toner that truly does minimize the pores and leave you with smoother, softer skin (which we knew but was confirmed by the incredible results of our consumer testing). The other half loves the oil because it’s a non-greasy oil that works as a great base for makeup, and you can wear it throughout the day and reapply. It’s multipurpose, so if you have dry patches on your hands, for example, you could use a few drops and it takes care of the whole situation.
The launch of Sweet July Skin has been really emotional for me. I can’t emphasize enough how important and personal this skincare line is to me. I’m petrified because we really worked so hard and invested so much time. It can be scary to put yourself out there when you believe in something this much and have poured so much of yourself into it. We know we love it. Now we have to wait and see if other people love it.
But I’m mostly so excited. Skincare is such a good way to take care of yourself. Your face is usually the first thing people see when you walk into a room, so why not nurture it and nourish it? Why not be kind to it?
—By Ayesha Curry as told to Brianne Garrett
This interview was conducted in July 2023 and has been edited and condensed for clarity.